Imatges de pÓgina
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what “

Men of liberal sentiments,” however, think otherwise; and they not only would “have it to be inferred that the Church of Rome is not in any peculiar manner a persecuting church, but in opposition to

may be gathered from history," they deny it to be so, and retort the charge of persecution upon those who would exclude Roman Catholics from political power, as if exclusion from political power, and persecution, were convertible terms. But they are not; they are totally distinct in their nature. Persecution inflicts positive punishment upon persons who hold certain religious tenets, and endeavours to accomplish the renunciation of those tenets by forcible means; exclusion from power only declares that those who hold certain opinions shall not fill certain situations; but it acknowledges men to be perfectly free to hold those opinions. Persecution would compel men to adopt a prescribed faith; exclusion from power allows men to think and believe as they please. Persecution requires men to worship God in one, and in no other way; exclusion from power leaves the business of religion to every man's judgment and conscience. Persecution proceeds from a bigotted and sanguin. ary spirit of intolerance ; exclusion from power is founded in the natural and rational principle of self-protection and self-preservation. History informs us of the mischievous and fatal effects of the former, and proves the expediency and necessity of the latter. And we must confidently maintain, that unless it can be proved that Roman Catholics experience, either direct injury done to their property, or direct force applied to their persons, on account of their faith and discipline, whilst they remain in the relations and intercourse of ordinary life, there is no warrant for complaints of their being persecuted, and we deny the fact that they are persecuted. *

Yours, &c.

C.

ROMAN CATHOLIC ALLEGIANCE EXAMINED.

To the Editor of the Protestant Guardian. Sir,--Having lately met with the Bull of Pope Pius Vth, in which Elizabeth, the pretended Queen of England, is excommunicated, and her subjects, not only absolved from their oaths of allegiance, but anathematized, if they should refuse to violate them; I should feel obliged to any honest Roman Catholic, who would, through the medium of your publication, inform me how his Church reconciles this document with the Declaration of the Bishops and Vicars Apostolic; how he avoids one of these two conclusions, viz., that either the Church must have changed her doctrines, or her Bishops have disingenuously mis-stated them.

The commencement of this elegant composition, which, by the way, does very little credit to the Latinity of Montalto, afterwards the fainous Pope Sixtus Vth, to whom it is attributed, is peculiarly modest. After asserting the doctrine of exclusive salvation, which we shall notice again, he thus proceeds:-“Him only (i. e. the Pope) hath Christ appointed chief over all nations and kingdoms, to overturn, throw down, scatter, destroy, plant, and build them up, &c.!!”+. He then takes occasion tó denominate Queen Elizabeth, with more zeal than courtesy, “the slave of iniquity-the pretended Queen of England,”'S whilst her predecessor of Smithfield notoriety is very correctly said to be "rightful Queen of

· See the Charges, &c. as before.

+ "Hunc unum, (i. e. Romanum Pontificum,) super omnes gentes, et omnia regna, principem constituit, qui evellat, destruat, dissipet, disperdat, plantet et ædificet, &c.'

"Flagitiorum serva, prætensa regina Angliæ.”

splendid memory."* After this exordium, follows an enumeration of the crimes which drew down upon this unhappy country the malediction of the supreme Pontiff. Besides other offences equally meriting the reprehension of his Holiness, “the Queen hath abolished the sacrifice of the Mass, Prayers, Fastings, distinction of Meats, (1 Tim. iv. 3,) Celibacy, and the Catholic Ceremonies.”+ The Bishops, Rectors, and other Priests, were also deprived of their livings. “The Queen would be acknowledged sole Mistress in temporal and spiritual matters, and punished even the faithful who disobeyed her; she became contirmed in her apostacy, and refused to admit Popish Nuncios into her dominions.” This part of the Bull is concluded by a pathetic lamentation, which must not be omitted, as it vindicates his Holiness's character for loving-kindness and charity, and serves to heighten the effect of what is to follow. It is thus expressed :-“Being of necessity compelled to resort to the arms of justice against her, our grief knows no bounds, inasmuch as we are obliged to punish one from whose ancestors the Christian Republic hath received such valuable services.”I

After this brief outline, I come to the part to which I would call the attention of any of your Roman Catholic readers, (and I trust you have many,) who dare hear both sides, and draw conclusions from facts for themselves.

I will endeavour to give you as literal a translation as the passage will admit of, for more general use.

“We declare the aforesaid Elizabeth an Heretic, and a supporter of Heretics, and that they who adhere to her in the said offences, have incurred the sentence of excommunication, and are cut off from the unity of the Body of Christ : that she is moreover deprived of her pretended right to the said kingdom, and of all and every power, dignity, and prerogative; that the nobles also, the subjects, and people of the said kingdom, and all others who have, in any way, sworn to her are for ever absolved from all obligation of observing such oath, and of rendering subjection, fidelity, and respect. And as we absolve them by the authority of these presents, and deprive Elizabeth of her pretended right to the kingdom, and all her rights above mentioned, so we command and strictly enjoin all and every her nobles, subjects, people, and others aforesaid, that they do not presume to obey her injunctions, commands, and laws. Them who shall do otherwise, we include in the like sentence of excommunication."

Let any candid man compare this with the following extract from the “Declaration,” (p. 14,) and I fear he will be compelled to say of a Roman Catholic Bishop, as Horace did of a Debtor

“Cum rapies in jus...
Fiet aper, modo avis, modo saxum, et, cum volet, arbor.

• “Claræ memoriæ regina legitima." + "Missæ sacrificium, preces, jejunia, ciborum delectus, cælibatum, ritusq. Catho. licos abolevit."

" Ad arma justitiæ contra eam de necessitate conversi, dolorem lenire non possumus, quod adducamur in unam animadvertere, cujus majores de republica Christiana tantopere meruere."

Declaramus prædictam Elizabetham hæreticam, et hæreticorum fautricem, eique adhærentes in prædictis, anathematis sententiam incurrisse, et a Christi corporis unitate excisos; quinetiam ipsam pretenso regui prædicti jure, necnon omni, et quocunque dominio, dignitate, privilegioque privatam; item proceres, subditos et populos dicti regni et cæteros omnes qui illi quomodocunque juraverunt a juramenti hujus. modi ac omni prorsus dominii, fidelitatis, et obsequi debito, perpetuo absolutos; prout nos illos præsentium authoritate absolvimus, et privamus eandem Elizabetham prætenso jure regni aliisque omnibus supradictis ; præcipimusque et interdicimus uni. versis et singulis proceribus, subditis, populis et aliis prædictis, ne illi, ejusve monitis mandatis et legibus obedire audeant. Qui secus egerint illos simili anathematis sen. tentia innodamus.

VOL. I.

“The allegiance which Catholics hold to be due and are bound to pay to their sovereign, and to the civil authority of the state, is perfect and undivided. They do not divide their allegiance between their sovereign and any other power on earth, whether temporal or ecclesiastical. They acknowledge in the sovereign, and in the constituted government of these realms, a supreme, civil, and temporal authority, which is entirely distinct from, and totally independent of the spiritual or ecclesiastical authority of the Pope and of the Catholic Church. They declare that neither the Pope, nor any other prelate or ecclesiastical person, of the Roman Catholic Church, has in virtue of his spiritual or ecclesiastical character, any right, directly or indirectly, to any civil or temporal jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority, within this realm; nor has any right to interfere, directly or indirectly, in the civil government of the United Kingdom, or any part thereof; nor to oppose, in any manner, the performance of the civil duties which are due to his Majesty, his heirs and successors, from all or any of his Majesty's subjects.” And again, p. 13, we read still more to the purpose:-“No power in any Pope, or council, or in any individual or body of men, invested with authority in the Catholic Church, can make it lawful for a Catholic to confirm any falsehood by an oath ; or dispense with any oath, by which a Catholic has confirmed his duty of allegiance to his sovereign, or any obligation of duty or justice to a third person. He who takes an oath is bound to observe it, in the obvious meaning of the words, or in the known meaning of the person to whom it is sworn."

It is monstrous to suppose that the Pope did not know the religious opinions of the English Roman Catholics, and equally absurd to suppose, that had he known them to be as they are now represented by the Bishops, he would have addressed to them the above Bull. The circumstance of such a Bull having been sent into this country, is, therefore, sufficient to convince us that the power of dispensing with oaths was claimed by the Pontiff and acknowledged by the people. But we have additional historical evidence placing it beyond question, in the several conspiracies, and attempts upon the life of the Queen and her successor, which followed its promulgation.

If, then, this power were once claimed and acknowledged, and is noto unheard of or denied, what becomes of the infallibility and unchangeableness of the Church of Rome? And if the power be but laid aside, because present circumstances are unfavourable to its exercise, what becomes of the honesty, integrity, and ingenuousness, of the Romish Prelates ?

I promised to notice the contradiction which this document supplies, to the declaration which the flexible and accommodating Bishops have made of Roman Catholic opinions, on the doctrine of exclusive salvation, but I have already trespassed so much upon your time, that I must defer it to another occasion, should you think the above remarks worthy your notice.

yo

THE DUTIES OF THE PRESENT CRISIS.

To the Editor of the Protestant Guardian. SIR,-You have interested yourself about an important subject, at an important time, and as a lover of truth, I cordially wish you success in the name of the Lord. Popery, which a few years ago lay prostrate and powerless, has been resuscitated-has completely falsified the predictions of those who were ignorant of her principles—and has taken the field against the word of God, under the plausible pretext of opposing heresy and enthusiasm. Her subtilty, and enmity to the pure

doctrines of the Gospel, as set forth by divine inspiration, flourish in their native vigour. She practises the arts of Loyola with extraordinary art and success, and her power has undeniably increased, even in your highlyfavoured country, to a very great extent within ten years. "Let her but proceed unsuspected, unwatched, unopposed, for ten years more, and her ravages will be far more destructive than those of the most ferocious beasts that ever roamed through a forest : they kill the body and devour it, but Popery destroys the soul. It is, from beginning to end, antichristian; it is the great mystery of iniquity, and nothing will ever destroy it but the brightness of the Lord's coming, that is, the shining of his glory in the universal publication of his Gospel. Such an observation in the present day of liberality, (of liberality towards error, but of enmity towards truth) is deemed unkind—uncharitable-yea, unchristian. But, by whom is it made? By those who are ignorant of the fundamental doctrines of the sacred Scriptures, who look upon religion as a piece of political craft, who see no difference between religious creeds, who would be as anxious to maintain Popery in Rome, Mahometanism in Turkey, yea Hindooism in the East, as Protestantism in England. Such persons seem not to possess the capability of distinguishing between principles, and those who hold them; hence, if error be detected and exposed, they immediately cry out—"Is it not cruel to insult men, and to consign them to everlasting misery?” But we do not either the one or the other. Error can be pointed out in a spirit of christian love, while he who holds it, can be felt for and pitied: and it does not follow that all who have had the misfortune to be brought up under an erroneous and antiscriptural system, drink in all its evils, or are even aware of their existence. ace, there are many truly pious persons in the Church of Rome, persons, who in the estimation of the Biblicals, (so called by way of reproach,) will, when they die, enter into rest. But, unquestionably, they will not be debtors for this blessing to the Church of Rome, but to the merits of the Almighty Saviour, which they learned from his word, and upon which they were enabled by his Spirit, to rely:-I need not tell you, Sir, that Popery is spreading in England; you know it, you feel it ; and to this knowledge and feeling, the PROTESTANT GUARDIAN owes its existence; but I would say, spare it not, bring the sword of the Spirit to bear upon it, hold it up to public view, strip off its mask, and blow a warning trumpet in the ears of your credulous people. Too long has this enemy to truth and godliness been parleyed with, and flattered, and coaxed even by many of our Clergy, but a new era has arrived, and it loudly calls for boldness, zeal, and prudence, in defence of the truth. Kilkenny.

BEDELL.

THE CLAIMS OF IRELAND.

To the Editor of the Protestant Guardian. SIR,- It is true that several amiable, valuable, and admirable qualities adorn the general character of the lower orders of the Irish Roman Catholics; but it is equally true, that the more prominent and distinctive features of that character, are spiritual darkness and moral depravity. Excepting the inhabitants of most of the more southern countries

of Europe, it may be confidently affirmed, that no people on earth stand more in need of those exertions which are calculated, with God's blessing, “to turn men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,” than the generality of the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Nor is it possible for Irish Protestants to act in more strict conformity with the dictates of Christianity, the dictates of Patriotism, and the dictates of Prudence, than to employ their utmost means and exertions thus, with reference to their "Roman Catholic countrymen. Little, however, appears to be done in this way, on their part; and the fact has become a subject of no inconsiderable astonishment to others.

That religious considerations should fail to operate on an extensive scale, affords but scanty ground for surprise to the diligent student of the sacred Scriptures. Still less ground for such an emotion is afforded to those who are well acquainted with human nature, by the infrequency and circumscribed operation of patriotic principles. But when we find almost the whole body of Irish Protestants, among whom intelligence and sagacity are very far from being uncommon, neglecting to act in accordance with the undeniable and evident requisitions of prudence, we feel ourselves in possession of ample ground for excessive astonishment.

They already experience diversified discomfort arising from the prevalence of Popery in their country. They scarcely need be forewarned of the multifarious mischiefs which would necessarily result from its established predominance. They surely cannot fail to be aware of this, that no political expedient is at all likely to be resorted to, for the purpose of preventing that pernicious predominance. They know that the Bible must be their only, or, at least, their chief resource, in endeavouring to diminish the imminent dangers of Popery. They actually witness its efficacy in most parts of Ireland. They can hardly entertain a doubt that that blessed instrument, if wielded by an adequate number of competent hands, must, sooner or later, render Protestantism, with all its numerous advantages, completely triumphant in Ireland. They surely must be, for the greater part, sufficiently prepared, by reflection and observation, to regard the itinerant Scripture-readers of the different biblical societies, as the very fittest persons to wield this instrument with extensive and durable effects. And yet, their pecuniary contributions for the support of these poor but extremely valuable agents, appear to be improvidently limited by the operation of most unsuitable principles of parsimony. Habitually expending, in self-gratification of some shape or other, from one-tenth to perhaps one-half of their annual incomes, they appear to grudge the application of even one hundredth part to the furtherance of those proceedings, which alone can disperse the manifestly approaching mischiefs and misery of popish domination.

When we see opulent Noblemen, dignified and well-beneficed Clergymen, and rich Commoners, countenancing or presiding at the meetings of Institutions having for their object the dissemination of God's Word, in some way or other; when we hear them speaking the language of excessive zeal and solicitude; and farther, when we witness activity on their part in promoting subscriptions to the funds of these Institutions ; and yet, very rarely find the possessors of £10,000 a-year, contributing

£100; or the possessors of £1,000 a-year, contributing £10; when we seldom find the latter contributing even five pounds, and very often .not even two pounds, or the five hundredth part of their incomes, though they have evidently not a little at stake, we certainly, to say the least, can entertain no very exalted opinion of their prudence.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient humble servant,

SENEX.

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